The big arrival to the first port: the beautiful and sunny town of Lisbon was waiting for our crew! We were so excited to learn more about our schedule. First, we would visit the Roman Ruins, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Roman Ruins are open only 3 days out of the year and it was pretty cool to see and learn about them. On our last day of programming we visited the SUPER impressive aquarium of Lisbon. Those who chose not to go were provisioning for our next days at sea and a lot of fresh fruit, veggies, and other things were waiting for us when we got back from our visit.
In between these two interesting activities we did the Terry Fox Run. Terry Fox was born in 1958 in Manitoba, Canada and is known for his Marathon of Hope. He died of a cancer (metastatic osteosarcoma) in 1981 at the age of 22. He ran 5,373km in 143 days across Canada with an artificial leg but his cancer eventually forced him to end his cross-country run. He raised millions and millions of dollars for cancer research. I truly believe that this run was the best activity we had the opportunity to take part in while in Lisbon. It was a 5K run along the shore where we admired the view and crossed the finish line at a park where we played soccer, relaxed, and laid in the grass. We were also treated to a great Portuguese lunch. This run made us stronger because everyone was running for someone and we showed that we are here for one another. It was still a great challenge for all of us and our team spirit was powerful. It is good to know that with Class Afloat we can always count on someone or, sometimes more importantly, on someone to share their Kit Kat bar when it’s snack time!
Whenever we didn’t have port programs or gangway watch, we were free to do whatever we wanted in this big city (always in groups of four and in the most secure way possible, of course). Even when our feet were in pain from being active from 9AM to 10PM, we continued to walk around and discover new things since we couldn't contain our excitement of learning and seeing some pieces of Portugal’s historic city. When I first arrived in Lisbon I was surprised that there was a big Jesus statue. I thought the statue was only in Brazil! Of course I wanted to check this out so one day we crossed the river with a ferry, hiked up the hill, and stood at JC’s feet. From there we could see the whole city; it was stunning and breath-taking.
Here in Lisbon they have Tuk-Tuk taxis, a motorized bicycle with three wheels. Riding in this weird scooter is so fun and we always laugh a lot. It can transport 4 to 6 people at a time which fits just perfect for our little groups when we want to get from A to B. For the people that want to go farther in town and don’t want to wait for the bus or the ferry, they can take a cab. Taxi drivers are really friendly and funny and they will do their best to understand where you want to go, even if we can’t properly communicate in Portugese. About twenty or thirty minutes from our ship they have a huge mall with three floors of stores and one big grocery store in it. It was the best place for us to refill our snack packs because it wasn’t only our ship that needed new provisioning!
What would Lisbon be without our favorite ice cream store? Only ten minutes walk from our ship, this place is like paradise. Every single night we have free most of us go and get a delicious ice cream/gelato/crepe. The guy there almost know our names! I think that Lisbon is a relaxing place, with no worries and no stress and where everything is cool. People are nice and very kind. We need to come back to the ship for two hours when we have gangway watch but honestly it doesn’t bother us because we are never alone and we get to take advantage of every good moment, whether on the ship or in the city. I would not say that it is the best part of our day but it’s not that bad.
The one question on everyone’s mind is when we will leave Lisbon for our next destination! So dear family, friends, and all other readers, no words can describe what we are experiencing here in Lisbon with our big crew, our new family. Each day we are learning more about the traveler inside of us. We might have no idea what we are doing or have complete control of our environment, but no matter what, we are working to be the traveler we want to be. This is the most important thing to remember. In the meantime we will continue to enjoy Lisbon and we can’t wait for our next destination!
- written by an English 12 student
September 25th was the trip to the Oceanarium for the Oceans 11 class, college course students, and anyone who signed up! We woke up anxious and eager to go, and after Colours and Happy Hour (cleaning stations) we all had about 30 minutes to get ready. At 9:30 we met at the doca (Portuguese for dock) and started heading to the bus stop. Once we got there we waited for the bus to come and then it was a 40-minute ride away.
Once we got to the Oceanarium we split into two groups, one group of the Oceans students and one of the people who signed up separately. We went to the main part of the aquarium and saw lots and lots of really cool and different fish. The way the aquarium works is each exhibit represents a different part of the ocean. We first walked past the main exhibit which was full of different types of fish: sharks, rays, sunfish, big fish, and small fish all into one huge tank. We got to the first exhibit and discussed how the habitats at the aquarium are made so that they’re super similar to the actual habitats.
The first exhibit was mainly things like puffins and similar birds. We learned that the rocks in every exhibit were not real but fake because some of the birds glue their eggs to the rocks and that’s hard to get off regular rocks. After we learned about the birds and their natural habitat, we all got into an absolutely huge elevator that fit everybody comfortably and the elevator took us to where all the “behind the scenes” things happened.
We got off the elevator and our guide explained how they filter and clean the water. We went inside and it was interesting to see how different it is compared to the regular lively environment to the metal, factory-like environment. It turns out that the aquariums are not just a big pool of water, but they have filters and there is a big process to make sure that it has clean water, that it’s the right temperature, and to ensure that contains the right amount of salt. After she explained how all of this works she brought us above the aquarium to see the filters and other things. It sounds like a waterfall above the aquarium because the filters are always moving the water around. We learned that not only does the filter keep the water fresh but it also keeps the water moving for the fish. Apparently the sharks are very lazy and if there wasn’t something to keep them moving they would probably just sit at the bottom and be even too lazy to breath!
We also learned about how they put fish into the main aquarium from the quarantine tank, how they set them free, and how they feed them. All the fish are fed in different ways: some are fed by them throwing food into the water, some come to the top and are thrown food, and some are hand-fed by divers. When the divers feed by hand they have to wear chained gloves because they can get scratched easily by the teeth of the rays. The reason they have to go down to feed the rays is because rays are bottom feeders. After we learned a bit about how they took care of the fish we went back into the big elevator down to the main floor with the main aquarium.
We all sat in front of the main aquarium looking at the amazing different types of fish.
We learned the difference between the male and females and how to tell them apart. We also learned about certain individual fish by learning the small characteristics and facts about them. I’m glad we all got the chance to go to the aquarium and learn about the behind the scenes things that happen at them. For some of us it was just interesting to know and for others they got to learn more about the career path they may want to follow.
- written by Lily, an English 11 student